The World Factbook (1990)/Guadeloupe

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(overseas department of France)

World Factbook (1990) Guadeloupe.jpg

 See regional map III


Total area: 1,780 km²; land area: 1,760 km²

Comparative area: 10 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 14 km with Netherlands Antilles

Coastline: 306 km

Maritime claims:

Continental shelf: 200 meters or to depth of exploitation
Extended economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: subtropical tempered by trade winds; relatively high humidity

Terrain: Basse-Terre is volcanic in origin with interior mountains; Grand-Terre is low limestone formation

Natural resources: cultivable land, beaches, and climate that foster tourism

Land use: 18% arable land; 5% permanent crops; 13% meadows and pastures; 40% forest and woodland; 24% other; includes 1% irrigated

Environment: subject to hurricanes (June to October); La Soufrière is an active volcano

Note: located 500 km southeast of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Sea


Population: 342,175 (July 1990), growth rate 0.8% (1990)

Birth rate: 20 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 7 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: -6 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 17 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 70 years male, 77 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 2.1 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Guadeloupian(s); adjective—Guadeloupe

Ethnic divisions: 90% black or mulatto; 5% white; less than 5% East Indian, Lebanese, Chinese

Religion: 95% Roman Catholic, 5% Hindu and pagan African

Language: French, Creole patois

Literacy: over 70%

Labor force: 120,000; 53.0% services, government, and commerce, 25.8% industry, 21.2% agriculture

Organized labor: 11% of labor force


Long-form name: Department of Guadeloupe

Type: overseas department of France

Capital: Basse-Terre

Administrative divisions: none (overseas department of France)

Independence: none (overseas department of France)

Constitution: 28 September 1958 (French Constitution)

Legal system: French legal system

National holiday: Taking of the Bastille, 14 July (1789)

Executive branch: government commissioner

Legislative branch: unicameral General Council and unicameral Regional Council

Judicial branch: Court of Appeal (Cour d'Appel) with jurisdiction over Guadeloupe, French Guiana, and Martinique

Leaders: Chief of State—President François MITTERRAND (since 21 May 1981);

Head of Government—Commissioner of the Republic Jean-Paul PROUST (since November 1989)

Political parties and leaders: Rally for the Republic (RPR), Marlène Captant; Communist Party of Guadeloupe (PCG), Christian Medard Celeste; Socialist Party (PSG), Dominique Larifla; Independent Republicans; Union for French Democracy (UDF); Union for a New Majority (UNM)

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: General Council—last held NA 1986 (next to be held by NA 1992); results—percent of vote by party NA; seats—(42 total) number of seats by party NA;

Regional Council—last held on 16 March 1986 (next to be held by 16 March 1992); results RPR 33.1%, PS 28.7%, PCG 23.8%, UDF 10.7%, others 3.8%; seats—(41 total) RPR 15, PS 12, PCG 10, UDF 4;

French Senate—last held on 5 and 12 June 1988 (next to be held June 1994); Guadeloupe elects two representatives; results—percent of vote by party NA; seats—(2 total) PCG 1, PS 1;

French National Assembly—last held on 5 and 12 June 1988 (next to be held June 1994); Guadeloupe elects four representatives; results—percent of vote by party NA; seats—(4 total) PS 2 seats, RPR 1 seat, PCG 1 seat

Communists: 3,000 est.

Other political or pressure groups: Popular Union for the Liberation of Guadeloupe (UPLG); Popular Movement for Independent Guadeloupe (MPGI); General Union of Guadeloupe Workers (UGTG); General Federation of Guadeloupe Workers (CGTG); Christian Movement for the Liberation of Guadeloupe (KLPG)

Member of: WFTU

Diplomatic representation: as an overseas department of France, the interests of Guadeloupe are represented in the US by France

Flag: the flag of France is used


Overview: The economy depends on agriculture, tourism, light industry, and services. It is also dependent upon France for large subsidies and income and social transfers. Tourism is a key industry, with most tourists from the US. In addition, an increasingly large number of cruise ships visit the islands. The traditionally important sugarcane crop is slowly being replaced by other crops, such as bananas (which now supply about 50% of export earnings), eggplant, and flowers. Other vegetables and root crops are cultivated for local consumption, although Guadeloupe is still dependent on imported food, which comes mainly from France. Light industry consists mostly of sugar and rum production. Most manufactured goods and fuel are imported. Unemployment is especially high among the young.

GDP: $1.1 billion, per capita $3,300; real growth rate NA% (1987)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.0% (1987)

Unemployment rate: 25% (1983)

Budget: revenues $251 million; expenditures $251 million, including capital expenditures of NA (1985)

Exports: $109 million (f.o.b., 1986); commodities—bananas, sugar, rum; partners—France 72%, Martinique 16% (1984)

Imports: $792 million (c.i.f., 1986); commodities—vehicles, foodstuffs, clothing and other consumer goods, construction materials, petroleum products; partners—France 59% (1984)

External debt: $NA

Industrial production: growth rate NA%

Electricity: 103,000 kW capacity; 315 million kWh produced, 920 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: construction, cement, rum, sugar, tourism

Agriculture: cash crops—bananas and sugarcane; other products include tropical fruits and vegetables; livestock—cattle, pigs, and goats; not self-sufficient in food

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-87), $4 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $7.7 billion

Currency: French franc (plural—francs); 1 French franc (F) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: French francs (F) per US$1—5.7598 (January 1990), 6.3801 (1989), 5.9569 (1988), 6.0107 (1987), 6.9261 (1986), 8.9852 (1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: privately owned, narrow-gauge plantation lines

Highways: 1,940 km total; 1,600 km paved, 340 km gravel and earth

Ports: Pointe-a-Pitre, Basse-Terre

Civil air: 2 major transport aircraft

Airports: 9 total, 9 usable, 8 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 1 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 1 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: domestic facilities inadequate; 57,300 telephones; interisland radio relay to Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and Martinique; stations—2 AM, 8 FM (30 private stations licensed to broadcast FM), 9 TV; 1 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT ground station

Defense Forces

Note: defense is responsibility of France